Bask in the country-style vibe of the Greenfield Weekend Market

Greenfield Development Corporation, one of the most experienced full-line real estate
developers in the country today, further ups the game for its popular Greenfield Weekend Market in Mandaluyong by recharging its country-style theme and enhancing its product offerings in anticipation of the summer season.

Greenfield Weekend Market

The Greenfield Weekend Market, with its home at the Central Park of Greenfield District, keeps a tradition of originality and variety when it comes to cheering habitues and newcomers every Saturday evening. For foodies, the dining adventure in the hangout goes beyond the conventional and traditional for a truly memorable gustatory experience.

Greenfield Weekend Market

The Market’s pioneer vendors like Emy and Ody Concepcion Fruits, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Raffy’s Belly Good Cebu Lechon Belly, Kfry and many others still prove to be a force to be reckoned with, capturing the hearts their wide and loyal fan base.

Greenfield Weekend Market

TC’s Food Stall offers Pinoy homestyle recipes that can only be indulged at the Greenfield Weekend Market. On the menu are homegrown favorites like bagnet, caldereta spareribs, lechon paksiw, pork sisig and more.

Greenfield Weekend Market has more eats to choose from to satisfy different preferences of foodies such as shawarma from Habib’s, smoked barbecue from Carnivore Cookery, Hungarian sausages from The Cut Premium Meat, chicken fingers from Fingers and Flavors, Mexican favorites from the Real Mexicanos and even Japanese favorites like takoyaki and ramen from Shumagorath Takoyaki.

A food stall serves fresh drinks such as buko juice, melon juice, cucumber, lemonade, dalandan and red iced tea. For native sweets and desserts, there are lechen flan, cheese cake, Taiwan milk tea, ice cream and even yoghurt. It’s a weekend market so there are fruits, culinary herbs, spices, organic vegetables, brown rice, and salted eggs, as well for urbanites’ kitchen.

Making Greenfield Weekend Market more interesting are the other stalls selling non-food items. For visitors looking for embroidered lockets, clay necklaces, key chains, vintage rings, necklaces, bracelets and artworks, the Market is your type of chill.

There are also bubble-blowing kits, colorful indoor and outdoor lanterns, hand-painted shirts, bags and dresses. Also, there are stalls selling books, vinyl records, shirts, artworks, toys, toiletry items, and many others.

The Weekend Market also promises a lot of fun activities for adults and children. There are live portrait artists willing to sketch you up, there’s a fortune-telling booth ready to give you advice, and even a photo print tent where you can take home photo souvenirs.

Enhancing the dining and leisure at the weekly affair are the jazz musicians. They start playing soft music at 6 p.m. until closing time.

Greenfield Weekend Market

The Greenfield Weekend Market is Greenfield Development Corporation’s innovative way of giving a unique urban living experience for professionals and urban dwellers. Of the few weekend markets in Metro Manila, only this one at Greenfield District promises to be a treasure trove for foodies, art enthusiasts, shopping addicts and country-style nature-lovers.

For those looking for a refreshing and wholesome bonding time with friends and loved ones, or wanting to enjoy the holiday vibe, the Greenfield Weekend Market is the best place to visit.

The Greenfield Weekend Market is located inside the Greenfield District, EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.  It is open Saturdays from 4pm to midnight.

Details provided by Greenfield Development Corporation in a recent press release.

 

5 reasons why Novotel is your family’s staycation destination

Now that the holiday rush is over, I felt that the family deserves a treat. That’s why we hied off to Novotel Manila Araneta Center for our first family staycation.

This hotel is the first Novotel in the country. Situated in the hectic commercial district of Cubao, it provides a haven where the metro’s denizens and visitors alike can enjoy great food and outstanding accommodations.

There is a quite a number of hotels in the city but let me give you five reasons why Novotel is your family’s staycation destination.

One: Luxurious comfort in simple yet elegant surroundings

Upon entering Novotel’s well-appointed lobby, we were enveloped by a sense of welcome: from the clean lines and soft lighting of the interiors, soft music playing in the background, the hassle-free check-in process and the friendly assistance from the hotel staff – especially towards my inquisitive little boy – we were impressed by the feeling of warm hospitality and comfort.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

We opted for a Superior Twin Bed Room, perfect for our family of four. It is tastefully designed to have a modern yet homey feel with earth colors accented by cool blues and greens. The beds have nice firm matresses covered in cool and smooth white linen sheets that made me want to snuggle in under the covers with my kiddies while watching movies on the big-screen TV. The couch by the window is also the perfect place to catch up on my reading.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

A spacious closet is on hand to store clothes and other personal belongings with a mini-fridge built-in with complimentary bottles of drinking water for the guests’ convenience.

If you forgot to bring your personal items, don’t fret because Novotel supplies guests with eco-friendly toiletries in keeping with the hotel’s advocacy for global sustainable development.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Two: A wide variety of exercise and recreation options

As he is already a pre-teen, my little boy eschewed the the hotel’s Kids Club and headed straight for the pool. There, he was able to splash around to his heart’s content. (And I was able to teach him how to float!)

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Hubby, on the other hand, preferred to continue his workouts at In Balance, the hotel gym the next day. Equipped with various exercise equipment, the gym is an excellent option to burn off those calories.

I joined him for a while and worked on achieving my 10k steps on the treadmill.

Afterwards, we each retreated to the male and female locker rooms to get a relaxing steam bath before rejoining the kiddos in the hotel room.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Three: A myriad of food choices within the hotel

When we hied ourselves over here, we brought our appetites with us; fortunately, Novotel has a great selection of restaurants to satisfy our cravings.

Take Food Exchange, for example. The site for sumptuous lunches and dinners became our first stop for breakfast after a restful night.

It featured a wide sampling of breakfast and dessert dishes from various cuisines. I absolutely adored the kind of cheesebread served; I’ve only tasted this kind of fluffy, sweet and salty pastries when I went on a Pampanga Food Crawl with my fellow bloggers last year. It’s perfectly matched with a cup of rich hot choco.

My little boy was over the moon for getting his favorite food – pizzas! – for breakfast. The fact that he ate them immediately after downing a bowl of milk and cereal still astounds me.

Food Exchange, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Food Exchange, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, the hotel’s ice cream bar, was my kiddos’ request from Day 1. And why not? We made sure to treat ouselves to some decadent gelatos and premium ice creams before we left the hotel.

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Indulge, Novotel Manila Araneta Center

Novotel Manila Araneta

Alas, a nightcap at Sabor Bar de Vinos with Hubby would have to wait until our next visit. He would surely love its distinguished wine collection, while I would love to sink my teeth into its signature tapas.

Sabor Bar de Vinos, Novotel

Sabor Bar de Vinos, Novotel

Food Exchange, Novotel

Other foodie destinations within the hotel that I’d like to explore include the Gourmet Bar, a 24/7 lounge and and laid-back restaurant serving a gamut of dishes from breakfast treats, power lunches to midnight munchies, and The 6th Pool Bar, a relaxing venue where people can unwind beside the pool while enjoying the bar’s signature drinks and snacks.

Four: Proximity to various points of culture

This part of Quezon City is simply awash with things to see and places to go to.

You can catch concerts and theatrical plays at the Kia Performing Arts Theater, while a short distance away is the Art in Island Museum where visitors can take their pictures against wondrous 3D backdrops.

Within the immediate vicinity is Sining Kamalig, a contemporary Filipino art gallery within Ali Mall, which has become the home of works by the country’s finest artists.

A little further off are university-based galleries Arete in Ateneo de Manila University and and Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines. Both have extensive collections of native and contemporary art.

Five: It’s loyalty program will make you feel welcome each time you stay.

By signing up as a member of Le Club AccorHotels, you will earn rewards points and status points for every stay at any of the 3,600 hotels in 100 countries where the AccorHotels group operates. Rewards and experiences that await you include premium packages reserved exclusively for members, frequent flyer points with major airlines and other partners, unforgettable experiences such as attendance to sports and cultural events in A VIP box.

As a new member, I was able enjoy online check-in and fast checkout, making the whole experience of our family staycation completely hassle-free.

My family and I had a great time with our staycation in Novotel, and we would definitely be back to enjoy more of its offerings.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center is located along General Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Quezon City. For bookings and inquiries, call +63 2 9907888. For more details, visit novotelmanilaaranetacenter.com.

Room rates for 1-2 persons are:

  • Superior Room: Php6,641 (room only) | Php7,274 (bed and breakfast)
  • Deluxe Room: Php7,274 (room only) | Php7,906 (bed and breakfast)
  • Executive Room: Php9,804 (bed and breakfast)
  • Executive Suite: Php12,966 (bed and breakfast)
  • Presidential Suite: Php189,750 (bed and breakfast)
  • Additional person: Php1,265 (room only) | Php1,898 (bed and breakfast)

Disclosure: My family and I enjoyed a complimentary stay in a Superior Room, thanks to a voucher I received from the hotel.

SKYlife treats families to a Play Day at Kidzania

SKY’S LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS HAVE A FAMILY BONDING DAY

SKY gave its loyal subscribers a chance to bond with their families through an enjoyable evening of fun at the SKYlife Kids Play Day held at Kidzania Manila last Tuesday, December 18.

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

The Kids Play Day aimed to nourish children’s passions and help them develop life skills while inspiring them to become the best versions of themselves, and having fun with their families.

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

Kidzania is an educational family entertainment facility which is a replica of a real city scaled down to kids’ size—with its own history, culture, language, and currency—and teaches kids the value of having jobs in the real world and giving back to the community.

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

Kids got to experience the park’s activities that offer realistic role-play in various set ups that include a wall for climbing, a construction site, a burger restaurant, a fire department, a courier service, an acting academy, and a vet clinic.

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

This SKYlife Kids Play Day is just one of the many perks enjoyed by loyal SKY subscribers. They can take advantage of more exclusive benefits and gifts through the Kapamilya Thank You Program. Until January 31, 2019, registering their SKY account to thankyou.abs-cbn.com will afford them with bonus rewards points that they can redeem to get free access to cable TV shows and more! More details on this are available at mysky.com.ph/thankyou.

Families also got the chance to check out the new SKY On Demand Box at the Parent’s Lounge which showed how families can continue their bonding experiences at home. SKY’s new set-top box greatly enhances the subscribers’ viewing experience: SKYcable TV shows as well as video streaming from Netflix, YouTube, ABS-CBN’s video streaming service iWant and SKY’s very own online streaming service for subscribers, SKY On Demand – all from the same box.

SKYlife Kids Play Day, Kidzania

SKY Cable Corporation is the first to introduce cable television to Filipinos in 1990. Since then, it has been a frontrunner in technology and cable TV content by being the first to design a highly customized viewing experience among subscribers, and offering the most number of HD channels.

For more information on the new SKY On Demand Box, call your local SKY office or visit mysky.com.ph/sodbox.

Event details provided by SKY in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content and perks it provides to its subscribers like this SKYlife Kids Play Day. I consider being able to share about SKY experiences like this with like-minded people one of the biggest perks of my job.

Spend your holiday at Bayview Park Hotel Manila, “your home by the bay”

Roxas Boulevard is a historic avenue, being near to many culturally significant landmarks such as the Rizal Monument, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philippine International Convention Center, the Malate Church, the Manila Zoo, the Walled City of Intramuros and more.

Checking these sites out or simply enjoying Manila Bay’s famous sunset might be in your holiday wish list but Metro Manila’s severe traffic situation, especially during the holiday rush, can be quite a hindrance.

Why not explore Roxas Boulevard and its nearby attractions to your heart’s content, on Christmas or New Year’s Eve even, with no need to worry about the drive home by staying at Bayview Park Hotel Manila?

Priding itself on being “your home by the bay,” Bayview Park Hotel Manila offers you the comforts of home while giving you easy access to the bayside’s myriad attractions, especially during the holiday season.

Bayview Park Hotel

Sate your hunger from a day of wandering and get on with the merrymaking with the hotel’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve Festivity Dinner. At only Php950 (net) per person, you can indulge in an all you can eat dinner buffet with a free-flowing selection of cocktail drinks from 7pm to 11pm on December 24 and 31.

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Choose one of its 283 well-appointed guest rooms, beautifully furnished with a balance of space, function and design, for your holiday haven. Here, you can rest in ease and comfort after a day of sightseeing and festivities.

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

And with the hotel’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve Festivity Package, you can enjoy a restful stay in one of these tastefully furnished rooms (with free Wifi connection for the “always-on” types) at even more affordable rates: Php5,888 (net) for a Superior Room and Php6,888 (net) for a Deluxe Room. The package includes overnight accommodation (maximum of four persons: two adults and two kids), buffet breakfast for two, Festivity Dinner for two, Late Checkout until 2pm as well as free use of the hotel’s facilities (including the fitness center and the roofdeck pool).

Revel in its festive holiday decor. I’m sure the kids you’re with (and the kid in you!) will find joy in the hotel’s surroundings, especially its cheery Christmas Tree at the hotel lobby.

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Who knows? You just might see the hotel’s bear mascot wandering around to spread cheer and holiday wishes to the guests.

Bayview Park Hotel

Bayview Park Hotel

Spending the holidays at “your home by the bay” can make the experience even more enjoyable and memorable!

Bayview Park Hotel Manila is a 3-star hotel located at 1118 Roxas Boulevard corner United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila. With a 75-year history as the preferred destination for both leisure and business travelers, it provides unparalleled service and exclusive privileges for its guests at affordable and friendly rates.

To book your room or reserve a table, call +63 2 5261555 or email bookings@bayviewparkhotel.com.

For more details, visit www.bayviewparkhotel.com.

Disclosure: Photos of rooms and “I Love Bayview” as well as information on the Festivity Room Package and Dinner were provided by Bayview Park Hotel Manila. All other images are mine, taken during the 2018 Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony which I was invited to attend.

Christmas shopping and food spree at the Holiday Bazaar, Hampton Arcade

The holiday season comes with festivities, get-togethers among family and friends, and, of course, gift-giving. Filipinos, in particular, revel in exchanging tokens of love or appreciation.

However, shopping for gifts comes with the usual stresses of traveling to stores while navigating through holiday tradfic jams as well as straining the budget.

Fortunately for Pasiguenos like me, The Food Tent PH organized a weekend Holiday Bazaar located at our own turf.

Fridays to Sundays, from 2pm to 10pm, until January 6, 2019, merchants offering food, clothes, toys, housewares and more, will converge at the front parking space of the Hampton Gardens Arcade located along C. Raymundo Avenue, quite easily accessible from almost any point in Pasig City (given our dire traffic situation :-)).

I was invited by The Food Tent PH to check out the bazaar so together with my kids, #ExhibitA and #Exhibit B, I ventured to Hampton Gardens Arcade after work for some retail adventure and bonding time.

In this Holiday Bazaar, we discovered great deals shoppers can score such as:

All original overruns from brands such as H&M, Nike, Zara Man, Forever 21, Pull & Bear, Adidas and more, discounted up to 70% off their retail prices.

Holiday Bazaar

Tester vials of popular fragrance brands such as Lacoste, Polo, Daisy by Marc Jacobs and Fantasy by Britney Spears, retailing for only Php80/vial as well as makeup, cosmetic kits and skincare items selling for Php500 and less.

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Stuffed toys imported from Japan of popular cartoon characters like Disney’s Stitch and Angel priced at Php300.

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Cute socks designed after popular characters.

Holiday Bazaar

Housewares and decors, gift items and gadgets and so much more!

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

If you find yourself hungry after all that shopping, check out the stalls offering various food items you can munch on right there or bring home as pasalubong.

Being Korean food lovers, the kids and I feasted on affordably priced offerings from Soondubu Jigae, all of which are cooked to order.

Soondubu Jiggae (Php100). The Korean soft tofu and noodle stew with shrimp, sliced pork, chicken and beef where the food stall got its name from. Served boiling hot in a clay pot, it’s mildly spicy but very hearty.

Holiday Bazaar

Samyeopsal with Rice (Php90). I was delighted to see that this very affordable meal already comes with ssamjang paste and lettuce, giving diners a close taste of the popular Korean grilled pork.

Holiday Bazaar

Rib-Eye with Rice and Mixed Veggies (Php179). The freshly grilled meat dry rubbed with Asian spices is juicy and tender (I ate it using a plastic fork!).

Holiday Bazaar

Other food items we sampled include:

Yummy Strawberry Cupcakes (Php30) from Purple Angel.

Holiday Bazaar

Dessert-and-Drink-in-One Mango Graham Shake from Mango District (Php65).

Holiday Bazaar

Hubby requested I bring home something for him so I got Chicharong Bulaklak (Php120/order) from a nearby stall and a Korean BBQ (Php90) from Soondubu Jigae.

Holiday Bazaar

Holiday Bazaar

And since I’ve been a good girl all week, I treated myself to a Chocolate Dreamcake from Gracie’s Kitchen (Php350).

Holiday Bazaar

There are lots to do, discover and enjoy at the Holiday Bazaar. If you’re in the area, do drop by for a quick meal or some Christmas shopping. Stay for a bit to enjoy open mic performances at the central stage area as well.

Holiday Bazaar

Interested in becoming a vendor? Stall spaces are at Php550/day. Just contact Hazel Hina of The Food Tent PH at +63 967 263 2866. This Holiday Bazaar is located at the Hampton Gardens Arcade, 100 C. Raymundo Avenue, Barangay Maybunga, Pasig City.

Holiday Bazaar

Photo credits: Hazel Hina of The Food Tent PH for the header photo and #ExhibitA for the Soondubu Jigae pics. All other photos are mine.

Fantasies brought to life with Victoria Court Suites’ themed rooms

Motels came out of the need among motorists for places to stopover and rest.  A portmanteau of the words “motor” and “hotel,” motels are usually located along higways with no-frills – almost spartan – rooms immediately facing the parking area to give motorists immediate access to their vehicles after their stopover.

Over the years, however, the concept of motels has deteriorated to one mostly related to illicit activity.

Victoria Court, one of the more premium motel brands, has taken steps to go beyond the seedy impressions of its business.  It began by transitioning its service concept from a motel to a drive-in hotel with bigger rooms, luxurious amenities and a classier atmosphere that guarantees privacy, courtesy, prompt service,and world-class facilities and housekeeping.

A few years ago, Victoria Court began to offer themed rooms – large quarters decorated and laid out with outlandish concepts in mind – thereby expanding its potential clientele to include those looking to have themed parties, engagement revelries and bachelorette bashes.  With this innovation, Victoria Court has cemented its appeal beyond the usual market among motels, while retaining the hint of naughty mischief.  (I organized a very memorable bachelorette party for a friend here a few years ago precisely for this reason.)

Victoria Court continues to innovate of this concept, regularly introducing new themed rooms inspired by pop culture.

Victoria Court, Pasig

In its recent event held at its Panorama property in Pasig, #VCTwistedFiction, it showcased some of its popular themed rooms by inviting bloggers and cosplayers to bring their fantasies to life.  Bloggers collaborated with the cosplayers in setting up and photographing the rooms in dramatic or playful scenes in the featured rooms.

Victoria Court, Pasig

Curious yet? Check these out:

Bachelor’s Pad.  Ladies, invade your men’s space by having your girls’ night out here, playing pool or pretending that the the boys are in the kitchen, making you a sandwich.

Victoria Court, Pasig

Victoria Court, Pasig

Victoria Court, Pasig

Cirque.  If you ever dreamed about running away to join the circus, here’s your chance.  In this room, you can be the ringmaster of your own show.

Victoria Court, Pasig

Victoria Court, Pasig

Victoria Court, Pasig

Venice.  Here you can picture yourself as the muse of a Renaissance artist and daydream among the romantic canals surrounded by works of the masters.

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Moulin Rouge.  Step into Satine’s opulent budoir and relive the heyday of Paris’ colorful demimonde.

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Oval Office.  See what it’s like to be the most powerful person in the Free World for a night.

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Princess Jasmine.  In this Arabian Nights-inspired room, you can get on a magic carpet ride and explore a whole new world.

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court Pasig

Victoria Court has certainly come a long way from the original motel concept into a venue for outlandish and fantastic revelries.

Victoria Court’s Panorama property is located at #1 Canley Road, Oranbo, Pasig City.  For inquiries and bookings, call +63 2 6719782 to 84 or +63 917 VCSERVE (8273783).  For more details, visit http://www.victoriacourt.biz.

Five-hour stays in the themed rooms are priced at:

  • Php12,000 (Cirque, Princess Jasmine, Venice, Oval Office, Moulin Rouge, Space Wars and Fifty Shades); Php1,200/hr in excess of 5 hours
  • Php8,000 (Bachelor Pad, Hive (Big), Asgard and Chips); Php900/hr in excess of 5 hours
  • Php5,000 Divine and Hive (Small)); Php900/hr in excess of 5 hours

Corkage Fees:

  • Food: Php2,000
  • Drinks: P2,000 (bringing of beer is not allowed)

A calesa tour of San Fernando, Pampanga’s historical attractions

San Fernando, Pampanga was founded in 1754, carved out of neighboring towns Mexico and Bacolor during the reign of King Fernando III of Castile and Leon. Since then, the city has been both a witness and setting for many of the region’s significant historical events.

In a recent trip to the city sponsored by its tourism office, I was able to get a peek into San Fernando’s past together with fellow bloggers through – of all things – a calesa ride!

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

There’s something about the feeling the balmy morning hangin amihan on my skin and hearing the clip-clop of hooves against the pavement as we circled around San Fernando’s Heritage District in an old-timey horse-drawn carriage. The calesa drivers are friendly and have been trained by the city’s tourism office to serve as tour guides.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

Our tour started at the Heroes Hall, which showcases the statues of eight local and national heroes, including those of Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Jose Rizal, Don Tiburcio Hilario, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos and of Nicolasa Dayrit-Panlilio who, in March 1899, led a group of Kapampangan women to prevent a violent altercation between Generals Antonio Luna and Tomas Mascardo. (Yey for girl power!)

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

The hall, which used to be the municipal office, now functions as a government office and conference hall.

The park in front of the hall is decorated with life-size lanterns depicting people celebrating a Kapampangan holiday. The pieces were provided by the award-winning RolRen’s Lanterns which also supplies the parols used during the Metro Manila Filmfest and in the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In the Heritage District, we passed by the houses of some of Pampanga’s notable historical denizens such as the Lazatin Residence, the Tabacalera House, the Hizon-Singian House and more. I would have loved to spend more time gossiping about the descendants of the historical figures who lived there but, alas, our time was limited.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

We also passed by the San Fernando Metropolitan Cathedral, a stone church founded by the Augustinians in the late 18th century. It was burned, along with its convent, by the Philippine Revolutionary Army on the order of General Antonio Luna in 1899 buy was restored by Kapampangan architect Fernando Hizon Ocampo in 1948.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

Other historically notable structures we passed by include the City Hall Building built in 1917, the Pampanga Capitol Building which is currently the seat of the provincial government and the Presidio or the Pampanga Provincial Jail which was originally designed in 1907 as the Court of First Instance.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampnga Calesa Tour

The final stop of our calesa tour is the ruins of the San Fernando Train Station. Opened in 1892 as part of the Bagbag-Mabalacat stretch of the Manila-Dagupan Railway System, it marked the start of the region’s economic growth due to massive growth in the Pampanga’s sugar industry.

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In mid-1892, national hero Dr. Jose Rizal made a stopover in San Fernando to recruit members for the La Liga Filipina. Ironically, the train station was designed by Engineer Charles Henry Kipping who ended up marrying Jose Rizal’s childhood love, Leonor Rivera. His visit is commemorated by a statue of the national hero seated on a bench seemingly awaiting his friends or the Kapampangan woman he was rumored to be courting at the time, Rosario Joven.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

In 1941, the Japanese Army bombed an ammunition train said to be parked in front of the station, causing significant fire damage to some portions of the building, which are still evident from the black stains on the structure’s walls.

San Fernando Calesa Tour

In 1942, train station served as the last stop of the Bataan Death March, wherein thousands of tired, hungry and ill Filipino and American POWs, after walking 102 kilometers from Bataan, were stuffed like sardines into box carts and transported to Capas, Tarlac. The horrendous event is commemorated by a diorama of life-size statues depicting soldiers consoling fellow prisoners and gearing up for more hardships that they are to face.

San Fernando, Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

San Fernando Pampanga Calesa Tour

The calesa tour is a memorable way to take a step into the past, revisit some of the events and areas of interest in the city’s history and appreciate how far we’ve come since then.

For inquiries on the calesa tour, call the San Fernando City Tourism Office at +63 045 9615684 or email ctipo.csfp@gmail.com.

  • Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tour and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences provided and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.